Category Archives: GHSA Basketball

Alexander play date notes

Alexander

Hillgrove: 53-33 (W)
South Atlanta: 76-62 (W)
Southwest DeKalb: 49-42 (L)

Through their three games on Saturday, Alexander looked like a team ready to make a run in Class AAAAAA. If they are able to navigate Region 5, the Cougars could be in good shape to take a deep march in the state playoffs. Two key additions will make an immediate impact.

Malik Battle2019 6-3 SG Malik Battle was brilliant throughout the day. The transfer from Douglas County made it obvious why he was First Team All-Region and an All-State Honorable Mention selection last year. Battle was unstoppable at times, averaging 20.3 points over the three games while drilling eight threes. He is a silky-smooth shooter but is good at getting to the rim. Outside of his knack for scoring, it was his mean streak that stood out. Battle is talker on the floor and his mouth is what ignited the final match-up of the day with Southwest DeKalb into feeling like a state playoff game with the intensity and high level of play. Battle is a no-brainer No. 1 option for the Cougars and he played like a legitimate D-I prospect this weekend.

2019 6-5 SF CJ Hawkins will fit an important role with the Cougars this season. The transfer from Maryland provides a little bit of everything. His toughness on the glass will help out Brady Spence immensely. Hawkins was consistent on the day, averaging 8.3 points, 4 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.3 steals. Hawkins knocked down three three-pointers and provided energy. He had the highlight of the day when he went hard to the hoop and threw down a one-handed hammer dunk on two 6-foot-6 Southwest DeKalb defenders. Hawkins is a dangerous player that will do what he’s asked, but if needed, can be the second scoring option and give 10-12 points a night.

South Atlanta

Alexander: 76-62 (L)

Only one starter from last season and five players suited up for Coach Michael Reddick, but that did not stop the proud program from competing. With no subs to turn to, the onus was on the five to make the most out of their opportunity.

Ja'Quavian Florence2020 6-3 SG Ja’Quavian Florence will return with a good chunk of experience to a South Atlanta team that loses two of their winningest players in recent years, Dondre Barnes and Jalen Stegall. Florence looks ready to take over the mantle as being the next tough guard in the Hornet backcourt. Florence had a nice flow to his game. He not only dropped in 23 points, hitting three threes, but he led the short-handed Hornets with his overall floor game, collecting 7 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals and 1 block. Florence didn’t force the issue and played within himself even though the bulk of the offense had to run through him. Florence has a nice jump shot that works best when he plays off the ball. Having a large ball handling role in the offense on Saturday should help him down the stretch to round out his offensive game.

David Hollis2021 5-11 SG David Hollis stepped up in a major way, banging home five three-pointers en route to a team-high 25 points. The lefty is a tough player. His three-point shot is his best weapon but he still found chances to attack the hole. If he is able to grow some more, he will be better suited for his 2-guard position. He’s not quite ready to run an offense at the point guard position. If he can’t squeeze out any more inches, working on his ball-handling and ability to finish in the lane would be to area to improve on. Defensively, he has the athletic and strong frame to be able to frustrate weaker guards. Overall, it was a big step forward for the D-Favors Celtic.

Southwest DeKalb

Alexander: 49-42 (W)

The starting five of Southwest DeKalb is intimidating walking off the bus, going 6-1, 6-4, 6-6, 6-7, 6-7. The Panthers will need to get production out of 6-foot-7’s 2021 Rion White and transfer from Florida 2019 Jalen Pittman. If the two bigs can control the paint and do the dirty work, Southwest DeKalb will be a scary proposition with the big three already in place.

2020 6-1 PG KD Johnson to no surprise, was the difference maker in a trash talk, highlight filled Saturday finale with Alexander. Johnson applies pressure on defenses from the second he steps foot on the court. He is in attack mode for the entire game and wears down his opponents. After scoring eight points in the first half, Johnson finished with a game-high 25 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal and 1 block. He buried three three-pointers and picked up 10 points from the foul line. Locked up with Jaylon Brown, a steady 2020 PG prospect in his own right, Johnson showed Brown what a D-I guard right now looks like. Defensively, Johnson rarely ever gives up on plays and notched one of his trademark chase-down blocks that stirred the crowd. His physicality can really bug guards that aren’t used to his in-your-face defending. His fire was lit after Malik Battle started jawing with him and the Southwest DeKalb bench. Bad idea. A player like Johnson doesn’t need any extra motivation, especially in a summer league game.

James Glisson III2019 6-6 PF James Glisson III can sometimes get lost in the shuffle with the high-flying escapades of KD Johnson and the sharpshooting of 2020 6-4 SG Eugene Brown III, but Glisson is uber-important to the success of the Panthers. A big body, Glisson still has the skills to play minutes on the wing, even though I feel he is at his best with his back to the basket. Glisson had 9 points (1 three), 4 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal. He will have games this year where he will carry the Panthers with his offensive rebounding and inside scoring. I view Glisson as one of the top 2019 power forwards in the state.

Carrollton summer camp notes

Carrollton

South Paulding: 66-53 (W)

Coming off of a 15-11 season with an 8-8 record in Region 7-AAAAA, there is great reason for optimism for a young Carrollton program that loses just two seniors. In their 13-point win over South Paulding, two rising juniors proved to be the best players on the floor.

Marcellious Lockett2020 6-4 SG Marcellious Lockett is a household name in West Georgia for good reason. Lockett should see his name seep deeper into Metro Atlanta and statewide as one of the tougher covers in the junior class. Lockett poured in 24 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 steal. He exploded for 15 points in the second half, part of a stretch of three three-pointers in succession.  Lockett can slash to the basket and even showed a nice baseline spin out of the post.

Melvin Edwards2020 6-6 F Melvin Edwards drips with intrigue at the combo forward position. It was eye-opening seeing his touch from the outside as he nailed three trifectas en route to 19 points, 10 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal and 3 blocks. Edwards floats around from the post to the wing, doing most of his damage working his way from the outside. He caught two lobs, throwing one down with authority on the fast break. While I wouldn’t call him an elite rim protector, Edwards did use his bounce to swat away three shots. His ability to play inside-out paired with the versatile scoring of Marcellious Lockett makes the Trojans look like a future playoff team.

South Paulding

Carrollton: 66-53 (L)

2019 6-1 G Sha’mi Shields never seems to disappoint with his energy. While others’ legs were tired, Shields was the energizer bunny, crashing the glass despite his average height and winning 50/50 balls for the Spartans. Shields finished with 12 points, 9 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals and 1 block. The offense will never run through Shields and he may not average double-digits his senior season, but instead, he is a willing glue-guy that will do a little bit of everything — not needing to be asked – to make plays that win games.

2019 5-10 PG Shane Gibson performed well in the South Paulding backcourt, serving as one of the Spartans’ most reliable ball handlers against an aggressive trapping Carrollton defense. Gibson calmed down the offense and was able to initiate their sets. The lefty netted a team-high 13 points to go with his 2 assists and 2 steals.

Douglas County

Troup County: 46-44 (W/OT)
Sandy Creek: 61-45 (L)

Graduation and the offseason transfer of Malik Battle has left Douglas County searching for a new go-to guy.

2019 6-5 F Jeremiah Smith was the Tigers’ most consistent player on Thursday, finishing with 10 points, 5 rebounds and 1 assist in Game 1 against Troup County before posting 10 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal and 1 block in a loss to Sandy Creek. Smith is a tweener forward that likes to play on the wing more than on the block. He has good physical tools, but he seems more valuable as a power forward that drifts out to the wing on occasion instead of a small forward that rarely goes to the post. Either way, Smith is an athlete that will compete on the glass and provide a strong presence that opponents will have to account for.

2021 6-5 C Omarion Smith is the spitting physical image of his older brother Jeremiah, both with an enviable frame complete with broad shoulders and long arms. The Lithia Springs transfer is one of the best rim protectors in his class, blocking over 6 shots per game last year. He blocked 4 shots total on the day and grabbed 7 rebounds against Sandy Creek. Smith still has work to do on offense. He needs to develop a go-to post move in order to become more than just a shot blocker. He has the length and explosion to elevate over and finish through defenders, he just has to put in the time to be able to do so.

Troup County

Douglas County: 46-44 (L/OT)

With seven varsity players out because of football, the young and physically immature Tigers had no business sticking with Douglas County, but the scrappy bunch fought tooth and nail and gained valuable experience for the future. Troup County was outsized at every single position, but that did not stop them from playing great team defense and clogging the lane whenever Douglas County attempted to beat their man off the dribble.

2019 5-10 PG Quevo McFarland provided veteran leadership and quick ball handling. The lefty finished with 13 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist and 2 steals. His speed kept Douglas County off balance and attacked in the right spots.

2019 5-11 PG Brandon Smith didn’t score much, but he controlled the tempo when he had the ball. Smith had the game-tying assist at the end of regulation after racing the ball up the floor. Smith has a sturdy build and uses his physicality well. He had 2 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals against Douglas County.

2020 6-2 SG Gabriel Cofield has to work on his handle and get stronger, but he flashed in a big way for Troup County, netting a game-high 14 points including drilling back-to-back threes to keep the Tigers in the game. Cofield has a confident jumper that could make an impact in spurts on the varsity level. As he grows into his body and gets more reps with the big boys, Cofield could develop into a nice high school player.

Sandy Creek

Douglas County: 61-45 (W)

Julian Alexander2019 6-4 SG Julian Alexander looks primed for a breakout senior season similar to that of Jarred Godfrey. Alexander was smooth as silk against Douglas County, getting to the rim with finger rolls while also finding the time to drop in four three-pointers. He collected 4 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals. Alexander looks like the No. 2 option behind TJ Bickerstaff heading into the 2019 season. Sandy Creek will have plenty of youngsters play big minutes this upcoming year, but the veteran backcourt of Alexander and Bickerstaff will undoubtedly be the straws that stir the drink.

Lambert Summer Showcase (6-5)

Lambert

Mountain View: 55-54 (W)
Peachtree Ridge: 77-49 (L)

2020 6-6 SF Luke Champion was a marksman, hitting nine threes on the night. He hit three in Game 1 for 9 points while sitting in the corner and draining six in Game 2 for 18 points. Champion is a sizeable shooter which bodes well for his future with the current state of how the game is played. He should be a very valuable piece, stepping in for Austin Deckard (GCSU) as the Longhorns’ primary floor spacer. Like I say with all great shooters, Champion will have to prove he’s more than just a specialist and that he can create his own offense off the dribble.

2020 6-8 PF Colin Granger posted 13 points, 8 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 blocks in Game 1 and had 8 points, 6 rebounds and 1 block in the night cap. Granger struggled to finish around the rim, using some great moves to get to the basket, but failing to convert. He had a few lapses of focus that got him in the doghouse in Game 2. Without Mitch Ganote in attendance, it was Granger’s team to carry last night. Even though it wasn’t his best day of work, Granger still contributed in the paint. He has a chance to develop into one of the state’s best big men with the continued refinement of his game.

2019 6-4 W Thomas Hickey had a nice night, finishing with 15 points and 2 blocks in Lambert’s 55-54 win over Mountain View, including the game-winning goaltended layup. Hickey is a steady role player that can get hot and provide good minutes. He has valuable size on the wing and is a hard worker on the floor. Overall it was a good showing for the wing who should see an elevated role his senior season.

2022 6-2 SG Chance Thacker was thrown into the fire as a rising freshman and held his own. His best game came against Mountain View when he posted 4 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 steal. Thacker has a good feel for the game. Defenses pressured the youngster when he got the ball, but he did a fine job of keeping his composure, even though his ball handling and overall experience at the varsity level is still in its infancy.

Mountain View

Lambert: 55-54 (L)
St. Francis: 65-47 (L)

2019 6-4 SG Nahiem Alleyne was mightily impressive now that the offense runs through him. Quick and shifty with the ball, Alleyne was able to free himself consistently with a tight crossover. The lefty can score at all levels with a nice jumper, hitting six three-pointers on the night. In Game 1 he finished with 19 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals. Game 2 saw Alleyne tally 17 points, 4 rebounds and 1 steal. Alleyne will serve the role of playmaker with the ball in his hands, something Coach BJ Roy must feel good about after seeing his play on Tuesday night. Alleyne plans on reclassing to 2020, something to keep an eye on.

2019 6-4 SG Elijah “Malik” Wilson showed flashes of breakout potential at his new home. Coming in from Collins Hill, Wilson may mold into being the No. 2 option behind Alleyne. The two are similar in the fact that they love the outside jumper, but both must make sure they don’t fall in love with it to the point that it takes away from their opportunities to get to the rim. Wilson finished with 13 points and 5 rebounds against Lambert, knocking down 3 threes. In Game 2, his shot wasn’t on, ending with 6 points. Defensively, Wilson has the length to defend multiple positions on the perimeter and could fit a “3 & D” type niche with the Bears.

2019 6-5 F Eric Jones was effective against Lambert’s frontline of 6-8 Colin Granger and 6-6 Kedric Barrett. Jones collected 10 points, 12 rebounds, 1 steal and 4 blocks. In Game 2, he had 5 points, 3 rebounds and 1 block. Jones isn’t an elite athlete or have the most non-stop motor, but he has a nose for the ball and effects plays. He has a quality outside shot which netted him three deep balls on the day. He might have a little more value at the small forward position, but his ball handling isn’t tight enough to consistently play on the wing. Jones broke his hand last season which put his development on hold. Jones has a chance to be an important player that can steal time at positions 3-5 for the Bears.

St. Francis

Mountain View: 65-47 (W)
Peachtree Ridge: 59-49 (W)

2020 6-1 PG Dwon Odom did what Dwon Odom does: Win. He had 14 points, 2 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals in Game 1 followed by 24 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 steals and 1 block in the nightcap. Odom’s three-point shot wasn’t that accurate, but he managed to sink three of them over the course of the day. I never seem to come away disappointed with Odom. He always finds a way to fill the stat sheet, even when he’s not at his best.

Jordan Brown

2022 6-0 CG Jordan Brown will play a huge role in the success of St. Francis this upcoming season. While the Knights still lack a true game-changing big man, another steady guard can’t hurt. The younger brother of former Northview standout Justin Brown, the baby Brown has big time skills for a freshman. He is like a right-handed version of 2019 sharpshooter CJ Riley, who had 18 and 7 points in his two games. Brown has a good looking outside shot like Riley, but he’s more of a point guard and more assertive attacking defenses. Brown hit from the three-point line (3 total), mid-range and finished all the way at the rim. In Game 1 he had 11 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal. In Game 2 he went for 10 points and 1 steal. Brown logged good minutes last weekend at Georgia Tech as well, proving he’s here to stay. He may be next in the long line of talented young guards to come out of St. Francis.

Peachtree Ridge

St. Francis: 59-49 (L)
Lambert: 77-49 (W)

2019 6-11 C Richard Rivers is a big boy. He weighs in over 250 pounds and is the epitome of a space-eater. Rivers has an extremely soft touch which is important for a player that plays below the rim. His mobility is still an issue, but he gets up and down the floor. On the low block, Rivers is extremely methodical. His first instinct is to look to pass. Rivers has great court vision and uses his size to dump off assists to open cutters. When he does make a move to score, he has a gentle hook shot that should rarely get blocked, even though he doesn’t have much lift off the ground. He is a threat to knock down the three from the top of the key. Rivers’ limitations come from his lack of athleticism, but the skill is most definitely there offensively. Defensively, he is a stationary post defender that isn’t going to collect any weak side blocks, but if you go straight into him, he will have his hands up to alter any looks. In Game 1 Rivers finished with 8 points and 9 rebounds, while in Game 2 he put up 8 points (2 threes), 2 rebounds and 3 assists.  Rivers should find himself on a college roster as long as both player and coach understand the role he best serves.

2019 5-11 PG Kamerron Oyala is a spunky lead guard that plays with pace. He will be asked to run the offense and provide a spark on both sides of the ball. Oyala had 10 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal and 2 blocks in Game 1 before going for 6 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists and 3 steals in a rout.

2020 6-3 SG Christian Williams drilled three three-pointers and finished with 15 points against Lambert. The lefty showed he could knock down shots and could provide some offense for a Lions team searching for a new leader after the graduation of Devin Vassell (FSU).

Georgia Tech Team Camp Standouts

D'Antaye Page2019 6-4 W D’Antaye Page (Westlake)
Looking like one of the state’s most improved players, D’Antaye Page has come out of nowhere, flourishing over the past two weeks. At the Adidas Memorial Day Classic, Page had outbursts of 37 and 32 points with the GA Elite Ballers. This weekend, Page continued his unassuming offensive onslaught. He pumped in 23 points and 6 rebounds in 52-49 win over Upson-Lee. Page doesn’t have eye-popping athleticism or elite size, but what he does have is a scoring touch. He drilled two threes and went 5-of-9 from the line on Friday night. Page says that he has been working extremely hard in the offseason. His recent switch to the GA Elite Ballers has now given him a platform to showcase his hard work and the early returns are nothing but positive.

Messiah Thompson2019 5-9 PG Messiah Thompson (North Atlanta)
Locked up in a 2019 point guard battle with Upson-Lee’s Zyrice Scott, Thompson came out in attack mode and willed his team to a 37-35 victory with 21 points (9-17 FG; 1-2 3PT; 1-4 FT), 2 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 turnovers. Thompson likes to force the issue and put pressure on the defense, attacking the basket even with his lack of size. He has an array of floaters and pull-ups that make him a tough cover. For North Atlanta to live up to expectations, Thompson has to toe the fine line of being aggressive while still getting his teammates involved.

2019 6-1 PG Zyrice Scott (Upson-Lee)
The first 10 minutes of the game, Zyrice Scott and Messiah Thompson matched each other point for point, assist for assist and turnover for turnover. As the game went on, Thompson ramped up the scoring while Scott continued to share the ball. Scott scored 14 of his team-high 16 points in the first half. He shot 4-13 FG; 1-2 3PT; 7-9 FT. After a big first half with Thompson guarding him, North Atlanta switched over to 5-foot-8 Virginia-transfer Jarontez Garrett, who really slowed down Scott (1-8 FG second half). While his scoring dried up, Scott still played like a true lead guard, collecting 4 rebounds, 7 assists and 1 steal while turning it over 4 times. In their 52-49 loss to Westlake, Scott finished with 19 points (8-19 FG; 2-3 3PT; 1-1 FT), 3 rebounds, 7 assists, 4 steals and 5 turnovers. Scott will have a high usage rate this year as the Knights’ only true point guard and their top perimeter scoring option.

Christian Wright2020 6-2 PG Christian Wright (Milton)
A smooth guard with maturity beyond his years, Christian Wright was in complete control playing in front of a Georgia Tech staff that has already offered. He opened up camp with 19 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal and 1 block against Kennesaw Mountain. Later vs. Sandy Creek, Wright finished with 20 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 steals, keying a late flurry that led to a 68-61 win. Wright drilled two threes apiece in each game and scored from all three levels.

Hasahnn Reynolds2019 6-4 CG Hasahnn Reynolds (Discovery)
The transfer from Immokalee, FL fit in seamlessly with his ability to share the lead guard duties. Reynolds can run the offense and facilitate or play off the ball. He’s got a knack for delivering flashy passes on point. He has a nice stroke and a slender build that helps him slip past defenders. Reynolds finished with 21 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal and 2 blocks in a 63-60 overtime win against Sandy Creek.

TJ Bickerstaff2019 6-8 SF TJ Bickerstaff (Sandy Creek)
TJ Bickerstaff will shoulder a lot of the load his senior season as the Patriots try to work some rotational players into bigger roles while also bringing up younger players to the varsity level. In their loss to Milton, Bickerstaff finished with 18 points (7-8 FG; 2-2 3PT; 2-2 FT), 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 steal. Later on Friday night, Bickerstaff’s efficiency rolled on, going 13-of-14 from the line to post 19 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 1 steal against Discovery.

Jalyn McCreary2019 6-7 F Jalyn McCreary (Kennesaw Mountain)
In Kennesaw Mountain’s 64-59 win over Milton, Jalyn McCreary totaled 19 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 block. McCreary used his size advantage to attack the rim and score around the paint. The lefty still has a few unorthodoxed kinks in his game, but they make him a tough cover as defenses never know what angle he will attack from. McCreary will take his game to the next level as he matures with his shot selection and lets the game come to him.

2020 6-3 CG Khalil Shaheed (Kennesaw Mountain)
Khalil Shaheed is a big, physical, explosive guard that likes to get his feet in the paint. He uses his quickness and strong frame to turn the corner past opponents to get to the rim. He had 16 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals and 1 block. The combination of Jalyn McCreary and Shaheed should lead to a lot of victories this upcoming season as a reliable cast of role player with their own functionable skill sets are in place at Kennesaw Mountain.

2020 6-6 F Ja’Queze Kirby (Jeff Davis)
Coming up from Hazlehurst, GA, the Top 100 recruit did not disappoint. Although Jeff Davis might take a step back this year due to an important 2018 class graduating, Kirby won’t let that stop him from carrying his team to a potential playoff berth. Kirby’s elite athleticism was on full display against Westlake while his ability to take over a game offensively shined through against North Atlanta. Kirby is an active rebounder with a quick jump. He has to play every position for Jeff Davis which allows him to serve as a playmaker. Kirby’s floor vision standouts. He had a few great passes that looked like easy assists get fumbled away by an inexperienced supporting cast. Georgia Tech Head Coach Josh Pastner was courtside for every one of Kirby’s Friday night matchups. As a passive team-oriented player by nature, Kirby will have to be assertive this year and get more selfish at times. On Saturday against Southwest DeKalb, he did just that, hitting five threes to finish with 30 points and 5 assists in a 5-point win.

2020 6-4 G Jaden Walker (Discovery)
The size, ball handling, shooting and overall smoothness of Jaden Walker’s game makes him an easy target to breakout this year. Walker hasn’t had the success at the varsity level that some other 2020 guards have already had, but the reins may finally be off. In a 63-60 overtime win against Sandy Creek, Walker drilled four threes en route to 21 points, 2 rebounds and 3 steals. The Titans will put out a solid starting five next season and if Walker is truly ready to orchestrate the offense, Discovery could develop into one of the tougher teams in Class AAAAAAA.

2019 5-11 PG Donaven Hairston (Milton)
Coming off a shoulder injury, Donaven Hairston looked energized to be back on the court. He had 13 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists and 4 steals against Kennesaw Mountain before going for 14 points, 5 rebounds 1 assists and 5 steals against Sandy Creek. Hairston is a shifty guard with a nice touch. He isn’t afraid to finish through contact. Most impressive is his on-ball defense. Hairston gets into ball handlers and has a knack for knocking balls loose.

Brandon Barron2019 5-9 PG Brandon Barron (Alpharetta)
Brandon Barron was simply electric to kickoff Day 2 of Georgia Tech Team Camp. No one helped their stock more than the elusive 5-foot-9 point guard on Saturday. Locked up with fellow dynamic scorer 2019 PG Da’Marcus Johnson of Tri-Cities, it was Barron who stole the show and carried the Raiders to a 61-49 win. He exploded for 32 points (11-15 FG; 4-6 3PT; 6-6 FT), 1 rebound, 1 steal, 1 block and 0 turnovers. Barron thrives in a pick-and-roll heavy offense, splitting defenders and getting into the lane. His great leaping ability negates the fact that he is usually the smallest player on the floor. Barron scored all over the floor with his quickness leaving defenders in the dust. Barron is looking for a travel team to finish his summer with.

Dwon Odom2020 6-1 PG Dwon Odom (St. Francis)
It is hard not to fall in love with Dwon Odom. He turned himself into one of the best point guards in the state, regardless of age last season and now he is continuing to build on it. It’s poetry in motion watching him dissect defenses and hardly ever make mistakes. His freakish athleticism lets him glide past defenders to set up his pinpoint passing or his thunderous dunks. Odom’s jump shot is getting better each season. He posted 14 points, 3 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal and 1 block against Tri-Cities; 19 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 steals against Dacula and 17 points, 2 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 steals including the game-winning layup after rallying the Knights from down 14 points against Drew Charter. The stat sheet stuffer may end up as one of the nation’s top point guards come 2020.

Mekhail Bethea2019 6-2 PG Mekhail Bethea (Dacula)
If Brandon Barron is lightning and Dwon Odom is thunder, then Mekhail Bethea is Mr. Ice. So calm and so suave with the ball, Bethea is heavily underappreciated by colleges even though he is a consensus Top 5 point guard in the state. Bethea does a great job of shielding the ball when getting to the basket, finishing tough hoops through contact. He has a nice outside jumper that rounds out his game. Sometimes Bethea can be too unselfish, deferring to the likes of Brenden Tucker, Quincy Ademokoya and the recently graduated Arusha Hunter. Bethea is a guy that can get you 18 a night if he wanted, but is content with being a pass-first point guard that will settle for 14 & 5. With no Tucker or Ademokoya this weekend, it was time for Bethea to shine with a ton of new faces angling to play alongside the star guard come the Winter. Against St. Francis, Bethea finished with 14 points, 3 rebounds and 4 assists; he had 17 points, 1 rebound and 4 steals vs. Greenforest and against Morrow, Bethea tallied 16 points, 4 rebounds, 7 assists and 1 steal. Bethea is a high academic D-I point guard.

2019 6-0 SG CJ Riley (St. Francis)
CJ Riley is a three-point specialist that has improved his game off the bounce and defensively. He will make a college program very happy as a shot maker. Playing alongside one of the best passers in the state in Dwon Odom, Riley has the perfect situation to flourish in Coach Drew Catlett’s offense. He heated up as the day went on, scoring 8 points against Dacula, 17 (2 threes) against Tri-Cities and capping his day with 18 points (4 threes) against Drew Charter.

2019 6-4 SG Marcus Foster (Drew Charter)
Getting my first look at one of the hottest prospects in Georgia, the physical Marcus Foster looked sharp in the first half against St. Francis. He muscled his way to 15 of his team-high 17 points in the opening 20 minutes, using his strength to fluster Dwon Odom and other defenders. Foster drilled two threes and finished at the rim. He tacked on 2 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals. As Drew Charter faltered down the stretch, St. Francis made sure the ball stayed out of Foster’s hands. They pressed and trapped Foster, forcing him to give it up. A lack of another true ball handler really hurt the Eagles down the stretch. Foster could have stood to demand the ball more over the course of the second half.

Cherokee Summer Shootout notes

Chattahoochee 52, Roswell 43

2021 5-9 PG AJ White came out guns a blazin’, drilling three threes in the first half to give the Cougars an early lead that they would never relinquish. White’s shot was on point, finishing with 16 points going 5-of-9 from the field and 3-of-3 from deep. It’s easy to see why White is regarded as one of the smoothest guards in the 2021 class.

2019 6-6 PF Grant Van Beveren posted 12 points (5-10 FG) and 9 rebounds. Outside of his standard productive play in the paint, never trying to do too much, Van Beveren shined as a vocal leader for his young team, encouraging and coaching on the floor and on the bench. With schools like Brown already showing interest, Van Beveren should see his recruitment steadily heat up over the course of his senior season.

First Team All-Region 4-AAAAAAA selection 2019 5-foot-10 PG Miles Herron really struggled for Roswell. He went 0-of-5 from the field and scored all 6 of his points from the line in a two-for-one setting. While his offense was off, Herron brought with him an aggressive on-ball defense. Herron moved his feet very well and used his physical frame to funnel ball handlers. He fought over top of screens and did a good job of not giving up on plays.

Class 7A Freshman of the Year Update

2021 6-4 CG Taihland Owens (Cherokee) put up 14 points in a lopsided loss against Mt. Bethel. Owens looks the part of a blossoming D-I guard. He has the height and physical frame, he can shoot the ball fairly well (hit two threes) and he can get to the basket. As Owens continues to refine his game and mature, don’t be surprised to hear his name as Cherokee County’s next D-I product.

Mt. Bethel Christian

The Eagles, two-time defending GICAA state champs, will have something to say about the GHSA Class A-Private state title next year. With a solid foundation of a three-man core, the Eagles should immediately become a contender in A-Private.

Mt. Bethel is anchored inside by 2020 6-8 PF Jordan Meka, who has the wingspan and bounce to end up being Georgia’s best rim protector in the state. Meka had a slow start in Game 1 against Walton, turning the ball over four times in the first half and failing to score, but in the second half and in Game 2, Meka showed why he is a High Major recruit. In a 52-46 win over Walton, Meka scored all 10 of his points in the second half (5-8 FG). He collected 12 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal and 3 blocks. In a Game 2 blowout of Cherokee, Meka impacted the game from the opening tip, finishing with 17 points, 9 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal and 3 blocks.

Meka runs the floor with grace and can put the ball on the deck in spurts when attacking the basket. He had great energy on defense and contested every shot in the paint. On offense, he showed a smooth lefty hook on the baseline to score over a smaller defender. Meka has all the tools to become bona fide star in the GHSA.

The second-head of the non-stop front court is 2019 6-5 SF Stanley Eze. Eze oozes potential. He completely dominated in both games thanks to has constant attack of the offensive glass. Eze plays extremely hard and has a motor that doesn’t quit. He gets off the ground quick with his second leap. Against Walton he had 21 points (9-12 FG; 1-1 3PT), 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals and 2 blocks. In the nightcap, Eze went for 16 points, 9 rebounds, 2 steals and 1 block. The relentless forward is always looking to get to the rim where he can finish with either hand. His athleticism and activity along with Meka can make the Mt. Bethel interior one of the most exciting offensive/defensive tandems in the state.

The point man of the attack is 2019 6-3 PG Coleman Boyd. Boyd and the Eagles like to get out and run, which is where Boyd is most dangerous. With his big frame, Boyd chooses either to take it all the way to the basket or float lobs to Meka or Eze. Offensively, Boyd didn’t have his best night shooting the ball. Against Walton he had 13 points (2-6 FG; 1-5 3PT), 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals. He scored 7 points and had 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal and 1 blocks against Cherokee. A few times on the night Boyd attacked the basket hard but ended up forcing the issue and taking a tough shot. When in control, Boyd can distribute the ball well and create open looks for his teammates.

Mt. Bethel’s big three should be able to compete with anybody in Class A-Private. They have some quality role players who will have to hit shots in big games. Their Region 6-A battles with St. Francis could end up becoming one of the state’s best new rivalries.